By David F. Rooney
The Revelstoke Visual Arts Society eagerly anticipates a future as exciting as this past year.
Executive Director Jackie Pendergast underscored that during its Wednesday evening AGM and Volunteer Appreciation Evening with a quote from French poet, journalist and novelist Anatole France: “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan but also believe.”
The society’s future was a hopeful but uncertain when it began about 10 years ago. It’s first year budget was only, if my memory does not fail me, only a few thousand bucks,. This past year’s budget saw expenses of $100,249 with net income of $19,569. Membership that first year was probably only a couple of dozen people; last year it was 165 people.
A decade ago we garnered a $40,000 federal grant to overhaul the ventilation and wiring in what was then the old RCMP detachment building. Part of the cell block remains but other than that you would be hard pressed to recognize the old cop shop — especially now that the building’s exterior has been repainted, a paved path has been built to bring passersby to The Centre and the fantastic new garden designed by Gaila Hemphill has been installed. The next additions are a bronze sculpture of swirling leaves this autumn and at some point an atrium-style addition to the gift shop. The Society is seeking a $60,000 Canada 150 grant for that and the CBT has signed a letter of intent to grant the society $30,000 if the Canada 150 application is successful. An additional $30,000 may be required for this project but with three quarters of the funding in place — or nearly so — this project looks almost good to go.
Volunteers from the now-defunct Art Group did most of the initial renovations a decade ago that created the main and side galleries. Visual Arts Society members have contributed a lot of time and effort to many, many projects since 2006 and 2007 and this past year has seen a dramatic increase in volunteer contributions by organizations like the North Columbia Environmental Society, the Ministry of Forests Initial Attack fire crew, the Local Food Initiative folks and just ordinary Revelstokians who understand that The Centre, with over 2,300 visitors last year is becoming a vibrant and exciting cultural and even an economic driver.
At the AGM members also voted three new members to the board of directors. Andrew Stacey, Keri Knapp and Margaret Pacaud join Ken Talbot, Bruce McLachlan, Tina Lindegaard, Pauline Hunt, Donna Naprstek and Mas Matsushita on the board, while Tanis Rebbetoy stepped down. Linda Nixon is the City Council rep on the board.
Here is a photo of some of the volunteers whose efforts helped ensure The Centre’s success last year: